The Iron Assassin

Written by Ed Greenwood
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

In Greenwood’s steampunk England, Sworn Agents of the Tower vow to protect the Queen and her philandering son against the Ancient Order of the Tentacles. The evil Order is amuck with in-fighting, one faction following the mysterious “Uncle” and one following Lady Roodcannon, the prince’s former lover and mother of his bastard son. In defense of the Royals, Jack Straker invents the Iron Assassin, a corpse brought to life through electricity and an iron exo-skeleton. The assassin’s controls are taken over by the Tentacles. Straker works with pal Hardcastle and new agent Lady Harminster to re-gain control of his creation.

With a Dramatis Personae list of 98 characters (13 women), in order of appearance, keeping track of characters is difficult. It took me 100 pages to realize who the main characters were, mostly by who was still alive. Deadly violence erupts on nearly every page. The plot is straightforward (bad guys vs good guys). The pseudo-science of this steampunk world works if readers ignore real science. Sentences without subjects or verbs are common, which caused me to re-read many passages. Readers looking for a book heavy on action and violence might like this story.